What will 2012 have in store for energy products?

Last week we wrote the post What will 2012 have in store for energy conservation where we stated that two things needed to occur before Americans change the relationship they have with energy:

  1. Americans will have to place more value on conserving energy.
  2. More innovative products and services to help homeowners save energy.

In regards to placing more value on energy conservation we wrote: "For many Americans, energy is inexpensive both economically and emotionally.  If energy prices drop (because externalities are not always accounted for) or if the public is disengaged with the benefits of conserving energy, then Americans will remain disengaged with their energy consumption, and there won’t be much hope for the second thing needs to occur for us to care about energy conservation."  But for the rest of this post, let's assume that Americans do start placing value on conserving energy.  What products and services need to be more readily available?

For 2012, I'm going to focus on three main product areas that I hope will really begin to take hold:

1.) The death of the incandescent light bulb and rise of LED

The 100 watt incandescent bulb will be stop being manufactured for sale in the U.S. on January 1 of 2012, followed by the 60 watt on Jan. 1 of 2013 and 40 watt on Jan. 1 of 2014. Earlier in 2011, Mapawatt was featured on energyNOW! on a great episode regarding what's ahead for light bulbs.

With the death of the incandescent and lowering prices of solid state lighting solutions, 2012 will be the year that LEDs rise to prominence.

2.) The rise of the electric car

2011 saw the first entrants into the ev market, but 2012 will be the year that the electric car really makes its entrance into the market.

The following major manufacturers will all have electric options available in 2012:

Also making news in 2012 in the EV world is Coda, Tesla, and Fisker.  In an effort to ensure the cart doesn't come before the horse, EV charging stations will be installed in a greater number all over the country in 2012. You can find a great list of available electric car (both battery electric and plug-in electric) on our post on electric vehicles and ev-charging stations.

3.) Smart home devices

I'll admit it, way back in 2008 I thought home energy monitoring would be way more popular in 2012 as it really is.  I'll also admit that I'm growing a bit weary of monitoring my own energy.  2012 will be the year when the home energy monitor no longer stands on its own, but becomes enveloped as one of many tools in the smart home.  The majority of home owners don't have time to monitor just one aspect of their homes performance (energy consumption), but want to see many metrics in one glance.

Aside from home energy monitors, I'll think we'll see the rise in popularity of internet programmable thermostats. I'm not sure how many homeowners will throw down $249 for a Nest Thermostat, or if a 3M Thermostat at half the cost is more in their price range.

Maybe home energy devices will become more enmeshed with home security (like turning on your lights with your iphone) but I think we'll see less of individual home energy devices standing on their own as they become tools in larger home systems (think a home energy control system that can monitor and control individual outlets and thermostats, similar to Energy Hub).

Our next post in this series will focus on what services may become available or grow in popularity in 2012!

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